If you are new to the activity, then some things that may happen if you were to join a small club or team would be they can show you basics, but not much more. Even if you are new to the activity, you may want to take it seriously. And that would involve things like setting tournament / practice goals, having homework or training programs to do outside of practice, learning and understanding the tournament rules, knowing how to wrench on your own equipment and gear, and lots of other things. When you are first starting out in a new activity, you don't even know what you don't know because you are new. And it may be hard to find the answers since you don't know where to find them or what to ask. So your first year is really a learning year to find out these answers, unless you already know someone else who has already done what you are trying to do and you can ask them for help. Is the club you are looking at really good, or do they just buy their awards. What I mean by buying awards is does the coach just put athletes in classes with low turnouts so they can take 1st out of one or finish on the podium but really far back from first place, then they brag how great they did in the class to make people want to join their club. Do they get jerseys made with fake sponsors on their jerseys so they can look like they are good when they aren't, and then those same kids will comment about someone else wearing a jersey with real sponsors that they earned and say they are wearing a NASCAR jersey. Do any of the kids or parents hold onto and brag about beating someone that is really good that just had a really bad day in a tournament, even though that person they beat had a really bad day and would kick their butt easily all the other times by a lot. No you can't really control who competes against you, but you can control who you compete against. When I was 11 my dad took me to Ontario Canada for an archery tournament. When we went to registration I was told congratulations, you will leave Canada with the gold. I told them we didn't drive 8 hours for me to get a candy award that all I had to do was show up to get, so I told them that I wanted to shoot up a class and shoot the 14 and under class and earned where I finished. They asked if I was sure, because most kids that don't push themselves would of taken the candy award but I push myself. After the two day event I won and shocked the parents of the kid who would of won the event because they didn't know I shot up to his class. I am really happy that I won the gold in Canada, but I would of been OK not even finishing on the podium because I would of earned where I finished. Some coaches spend their time looking for classes to enter their kids in to win candy awards at events, instead of practicing to get better and earn their awards. Then they post on social media bragging posts to make themselves look like they are so good when they are not good at all. If you brag about coming in first but leave out that it was out of one, that is nothing to brag about. At this point the coach should just use the competition entry fee and just go to a medal shop and buy medals, because it's a fake meaningless award. But if you did finish 1st out of 1 and you shoot a new tournament record you can post that, but just be humble with what you post. Not half truth posts to make your team look better than they are. When I first joined an archery club I was just learning how to shoot and we didn't know anything about competitions. I had fun shooting and eventually joined a local team because I was putting in the work and wanted to shoot competitively. I have been shooting competitively for 5 years now, and I don't shoot on a team because I haven't found a team in my area that fits me. Where I live there are no kids or parents that take archery seriously like we do, but if I lived 4 hours away there is a team I would definitely want to join because the kids, parents and coaches there take it seriously. So now I shoot for myself and my dad coaches and trains me, he even became a USA Archery Level 3 coach to help me. I know a couple adult archers that have real jobs that shoot the pro classes when they compete since they are really good, and they will help me and my dad when we ask since my dad only knows so much. They help us find things to work on and fix or make changes that we didn't know we should make. I also know a couple older kids that I have been friends with for a few years that now compete in the pro classes, them and their parents have been very helpful to me and my dad too. And that team that is 4 hours away helps me out when we ask, and I hang out with kids that shoot for them at national events since no one local to me really shoots at the national level like they do.
When I first started competing I had an inexpensive kids hunting bow with a cheap hunting one pin sight because that's what fit me and for the level I was shooting I didn't need anything more. Eventually I would out shoot what I had and I slowly started upgrading my equipment to what I now have, which is a top of the line target bow, sight, arrows, rest, release and everything else I use to shoot and compete with. With the work I have put in I have been accomplishing a lot of goals that I have set for myself, this year I shot new personal best scores a couple times in 3 and 5 spot indoor target archery. I wouldn't have been able to set these personal bests without all the practicing I do almost every day to become the best I can. And it's not just practicing, but also knowing and understanding your equipment and being able to wrench on it yourself. My dad trusts me to wrench on my bow myself, but when it's something that me and him can't do we do have people we can ask that will help and teach us. But I like being able to wrench on my own bow.
When you first start a sport or activity you might not really know anything about it, so a club is better than nothing so you can learn more about it. Just because you are not on a real team or club doesn't mean you are alone at competitions, you will make friends at event's. And just because someone is on a team that you're not on doesn't mean you can't be their friend. When I go to national events I look forward to seeing friends I've made, some of them are on teams but most of them are not on a team. And just because you're not on a team doesn't mean your bad because I have some friends that aren't on teams and are really good and finish on the podiums at national events. All in all it is just learning what fits you and what your choices are that you have in your area. That is because on teams and clubs there could be some kids who only practice when there is a group practice going on, and don't actually practice at practice. Then there are kids who may only be on a team or club to get the chance to practice with other people, versus just themselves. Or maybe you have to be part of a club or team to participate in a certain event. If you can't find a team or club in your area that isn't your fit, it is better to go off on your own and get your own private coaching than pick up bad habits from a coach, parents or other athletes.
When I started racing motocross about 10 years ago we couldn't tell you any of the rules, we didn't even know how you got your racing number. But after years of racing a we learned a lot and we could tell you all the rules for multiple racing series. Same with when we started archery, we didn't know anything. The only rule we knew was the arrows were suppose to hit the X on targets, but now after all these years we could tell you all the rules in many different organizations. Now I am trying firearm competitions which me and my dad know nothing about. We are going to go to some local events and learn about it so we learn the rules we need to know before we compete. We aren't going to just wily nily join a team or a club without doing our research, because we don't want to be a part of something that we won't like. We are not looking to join a competition team either, because we don't have the time for that at all. If we join anything it will be just a club so that we can learn more rules faster and to hang out with other people who like to shoot firearms too.